Begin at the Beginning

Parents have all sorts of questions regarding beginnings for their children. When should your child speak his first word or begin eating solid food? When should she start learning to read or begin learning math? When should your child learn to ride a bicycle or how to tie a bow? Educators will debate and parents will disagree, but the bottom line is that the answers often depend on your child’s individual development.

Is the answer the same regarding spiritual things? Is there a right time to begin teaching your child about God?

The answer is simple: begin at the beginning. Begin at the beginning of your child’s life. From infancy, tell him of the Father’s love. Sing to her the familiar words of “Jesus Loves Me This I Know” as you change her diaper. Play fingerplays with him when he wakes from his nap.

As your children grow from infancy into toddlerhood, read the Bible to them at bedtime. Use a children’s Bible to pique their interest with pictures and to hold their interest with age-appropriate vocabulary.

Pray with them at meals, pray before bedtime, pray when they first wake in the morning. Pray with them when they’re happy, thanking God for the source of their joy. Pray with them when they’re sad, showing them the importance of running to their heavenly Father first.

Trusting God will not be a foreign concept for your child. Children have a deep capacity for faith. Think about it. You don’t have to teach your infant, toddler, or elementary-age child to trust you. They wake in the morning trusting you for breakfast, for the clothes they’ll wear, for the roof over their heads. They trust you to protect them from harm. After all, what’s the first thing they cry out when they’re scared? Mommy!

Their deep capacity for faith and trust is just waiting for you to direct them to their ultimate Parent. The One who will be there when you can’t. The One who will carry them farther than you can. And, as difficult as it is to understand, the One who loves them even more than you do.

Begin at the beginning to give them a foundation of trust that will never end.

Book Review: Lily and the City of Lights by Lindsay Bonilla

  • Title:  Lily and the City of Light
  • Author:  Lindsay Bonilla
  • Illustrator:  Alexander Morris
  • Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc
  • ISBN-10: 1616331054
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616331054
  • SRP: $10.95
  • Reviewed by: Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)

Lily lives in an orphanage in the dark city of Htrae. The people in the city are all poor and work hard, but Lily remembers a lullaby of a beautiful city atop a mountain filled with light and love. She travels to the outskirts of Hrtae to find the old man who knows about this beautiful city and asks him how to get there. When she finds the only way is to make a great sacrifice, Lily isn’t certain she can handle it. Meeting colorful characters along the way, Lily must decide if she can do the one thing that will allow her into the beautiful city.

What a fabulous story by author, freelancer, and performer Lindsay Bonilla. While as a Christian, I see the symbolism and message behind this beautifully told story, any lover of fantasy will enjoy Lily and the City of Light. This tale of one girl’s journey to gain entry into the city of her dreams will captivate young hearts.

The bold illustrations provided by Alexander Morris are the perfect complement to Bonilla’s text. The rounded lines, the vibrant colors, and the expressions Morris is able to capture with his artwork, make this a wonderful story to share with your 5- to 12-year-old.

This isn’t the first time that Bonilla and Morris have collaborated. I hope to see more from them soon!

I received a free ecopy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation for this review.

Hand writing for preschoolers

Sensory learning is the best approach to teaching in the early years.  What is sensory learning?  It is learning with all of your senses!  Think about that.  Can you smell it? taste it? see it? feel it? Hear it? Using each of the five senses is sensory learning. Teach like you are a scientist making observations!

Explore different ways to make learning fun.  For example, help your child make play dough snakes and have them line them up over the letters. Even if preschoolers can not make snakes they can begin to explore spacial relationships of letter making.  Or take a small mag light and pass it over the letters on a flash card in the way they would form the letters. Be careful as a parent that you don’t pass on bad habits of letter making to your children. For example, don’t trace back over letters. Teach them the proper way to grasp a pencil for forming letters.  Starting at the top and learning the correct sequence for letter formation is necessary for success.

Hand Writing Without Tears is a handwriting curriculum that starts in preschool with activities and with toys to start the child off right. They use techniques that children remember like learning your LEAP FROG letters, that will help a child to remember to leap up to finish their letter.

You know your child, and you as a parent know what they like, what motivates them, and you are their best teacher in the early years.

Check out Hand Writing Without Tears and look at some of the activities they use.  For example, using a wet finger on a chalk board is sensory learning; the child feels how the letter is made with his or her finger.  Next progress to a small piece of chalk or a small crayon and write on paper to teach the proper way to hold a pen or pencil when they are ready.  Tip: don’t throw away broken crayons. A crayon about one inch long is the best size for teaching a child to grasp a pencil or pen. Give it a try and enjoy your time with your child. That is one of the first steps for teaching children that it can be fun to learn!

Roslyn

Hand Writing Without Tears:  http://www.hwtears.com/hwt/parents

Sweeter than honey from the comb

Honeycomb

The sweetest honey is straight from the comb.

Have you ever tasted honey straight from the honeycomb? The awesome sweetness bursts in your mouth as you bite down on a piece of fresh honeycomb. For some unexplained reason, honey always tastes richer and sweeter when you eat it straight from the comb. You might find a jar of honey with comb in it at your local produce stand. If not, taste some liquid honey.

If you can find fresh honey still in the comb, share some with your family and let everyone taste the sweetness. Then share Psalm 19:9-10 with them from the Bible.

9 The fear of the LORD is pure, 
   enduring forever. 
The ordinances of the LORD are sure 
   and altogether righteous. 
10 They are more precious than gold, 
   than much pure gold; 
they are sweeter than honey, 
   than honey from the comb.

Children may be confused with some of the big words, but a simpler explanation is that God’s Word, his Bible, is good and can be trusted. It is more precious than pure gold, and it is sweeter than honey from the honeycomb.

If you take a few minutes to look up the words honey and honeycomb in a Bible concordance you will see that this comparison between honey and the lessons we learn from God’s Word is made in several places in the Bible.

Share a simple Bible story with your children that they can easily understand. Several excellent Bible story books are available in Christian bookstores, and new ones are coming out every day. Let your children see you read your Bible on a regular basis. They learn to value it – or not – by watching the example you set.

Another similar Bible verse is Psalm 34:8  “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.” 

Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us your words in the Bible. Help us to want to know you as much as we want to eat good food.

This post was written by Janice D. Green, Honeycomb Adventures, LLC, author of The Creation and The First Christmas.

OK, you can’t see the honey in this shot, but I thought you might like this picture of me anyway.

 

Authors at work…

We are a group of Christian children’s authors busy trying to create a joint blog from which we will share our enthusiasm for reaching children and their families with our messages of faith, love, and fun. We will address many topics of interest to parents, teachers, caregivers, grandparents, relatives and neighbors who care about children. Please come back to see our progress.

Here are a few categories we plan to include:
  • Devotions relevant to family life or Christian children’s leaders
  • Family activities and fun
  • Family health
  • Grand-parenting
  • Book reviews

Temporary header photo by Janice Green.